[Histonet] Re: paraffin problem

rsrichmond <@t> aol.com rsrichmond <@t> aol.com
Thu Dec 7 12:36:53 CST 2006

Several people comment on problems with present day embedding waxes ("paraffin").
Geezer time. In the more than forty years I've been a pathologist, one of the biggest improvements in technology has been the replacement of simple paraffin waxes with the present proprietary mixtures. In the 1960's, many laboratories simply bought Gulfwax - the wax used by home canners to seal canning jars. For quite a few years now complex mixtures of who knows what have replaced simple paraffin. These mixtures are all proprietary and trade-secret, and as far as I know this whole change has been largely undocumented in the literature. But the improvement in sections that has resulted has been revolutionary. In the 1960's many laboratories were simply unable to cut an interpretable section of a lymph node. Frank Foote, then the chief of surgical pathology at Memorial/Sloan Kettering in New York city, often observed that most of a surgical pathology consultant's expertise was in interpreting nearly unreadable slides.
Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN
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